Nowadays, Serato is the most popular DJ software of all, for several possible reasons. Being a DJ is becoming more and more popular. So it's no surprise that many DJs rely on home DJ software to practice mixing, recording performances and formatting their USB sticks. The best part is that most of the basic versions of the DJ software on this list are free for your starter kits.
Of course, not all DJ software apps are built the same way, each one comes with its own set of features and considerations. So if you're looking for tools to get your DJ set ready to go, here are 7 DJ software apps that should be on your list. If you want to play at your local nightclub with real CDJs, you can't just roll up a folder of. mp3, you must use Rekordbox to format your USB stick correctly.
While Ableton Live is designed to be used as a music-creation DAW, it works absolutely well as a software platform for DJs and as a DJ controller with Ableton Push. Ableton Live is especially good if you want to play your own music or add live performances to your DJ set, as it solidly supports loops, finger drums, keyboards and more. Native Instruments is Pioneer's competitive choice with its Traktor DJ software and complementary Traktor DJ controllers. Serato DJ Pro is the best and best software platform for DJs right now, that's why you have to pay for it.
And, once you develop your skills, the paid version of Virtual DJ is very competitive with the most advanced DJ software platforms. Mixxx is another free and open source DJ software program that makes it very easy to mix on your computer. However, not all DJs use a laptop in the DJ booth. Two of the platforms we cover here (Rekordbox and Engine DJ) are used by these DJs.
Once you've prepared your music to be a DJ, with these platforms, you can also “export” a playlist or playlists to a USB drive or SD card. Rekordbox is actually both a performance platform and a library preparation tool, as we'll see. Serato gained popularity especially in the United States, and particularly among hip-hop and scratch DJs; in fact, it used to be called “Serato Scratch Live”. In addition, it is designed to be used exclusively by laptop DJs: you cannot export the music analyzed by Serato to a USB drive and use it on hardware other than your laptop.
Pioneer DJ is the biggest name in the DJ world and Rekordbox is their platform. Whether you buy a “humble” Pioneer DJ controller, such as the DDJ-400, or you do your best and buy a standard club mixer and multimedia players (which will cost you the price of a small car), Rekordbox will be the software you'll use. As a musical preparation tool, it is unrivaled. This is mainly because it began as a musical preparation tool, for DJs to prepare their music before putting it on the Pioneer DJ Club equipment (basically CDJ players).
But in recent years, it has also become an acting platform that the company calls Rekordbox DJ, which is also included in the same software. It's a software for laptops only, with no standalone DJ option. Virtual DJ doesn't make its own hardware, but it works with just about any piece of hardware you can get your hands on; you just have to plug it in and it's likely to work well. Perhaps because of his renegade image, he tends to have a bad reputation in the DJ community, but he doesn't deserve that: he's a real player.
In that sense, it's like Rekordbox, although Rekordbox can also be used as DJ software for laptops, which this cannot. And while it's not as feature-rich for preparing music as Rekordbox, once you're on the hardware and you're playing, DJ equipment equipped with an engine is currently the most powerful system of its kind, with class-leading features and fast and fast operation. Think of DJ equipment as basically an input device better suited to DJs, where instead of typewriter keys and mouse controls, you have dimmers, swivel wheels and performance controls. You can use it with hardware from names like Rane, Numark, Roland, Denon DJ, Reloop and even Pioneer DJ, including their professional DJ equipment of the kind found in clubs.